Towards Regional Integration

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Donald Kaberuka
Donald Kaberuka

|  By Maureen Chigbo  |  Apr. 29, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

AFRICAN Development Bank Board approves two loans totalling $232.5 million to enable Kenya and Tanzania build a 157.5 kilometre road project linking the two countries

Kenya and Tanzania are the latest beneficiaries of the African Development Bank, AfDB, loan to boost infrastructure in the region. Last week, AfDB approved two loans totalling $232.5 million for the 157.5-kilometre road project from Arusha to Holili in Tanzania, and Taveta to Voi in Kenya, in an effort to reduce the cost of transportation and enhance access to agricultural inputs, larger markets and social services within the East Africa Community.

Kenya will receive $113.12 million of the loan, while Tanzania will receive $120 million. The Bank facility constitutes 89.1 per cent of the total project cost. The project, which is expected to be completed by December 2018, is also jointly financed by the governments of Kenya and Tanzania both contributing $15.6 million and $12.3 million, respectively.

The Africa Trade Fund has also extended a $0.74-million grant for trade facilitation at the Namanga border, bringing the total cost of the project to $262.2.  The Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi Road is a transport corridor of the East African Region that links the Northern Corridor at Voi to the Central Corridor across the common border at Holili/Taveta through Arusha, Babati to Dodoma and Singida.

The project will comprise of civil works for the construction of the Arusha Bypass (42.4 km) and dualling the Sakina-Tengeru section (14.1 km) as well as the construction of two roadside amenities at Tengeru, one on either side of the dual carriageway in Tanzania. It will also involve the upgrading of the Taveta-Mwatate portion (89 km) and construction of the Taveta Bypass (12 km) and two roadside amenities, one each at Bura and Maktau along the Mwatate-Taveta Road in Kenya. Tanzania targets the Second National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty or MKUKUTA II to raise the growth of the transport sector to 9.0 per cent by 2015 while Kenya is to upgrade the Voi-Taveta Road falls within Pillar I of Vision 2030, the basis for socio-economic transformation.

The Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi Road is one of the transport corridors of the EAC region meant to reduce the cost of doing business, increase competitiveness of the region on the global market and at the same time promote regional integration. The project road links the northern corridor to the central corridor across the common border of Tanzania and Kenya (Holili/Taveta) through Arusha, Minjingu and Babati to Singida and Dodoma. The corridor at completion will link the port of Mombasa to northern and northwestern Tanzania and the landlocked countries of Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Uganda, providing an alternative route to the sea.

Gabriel Negatu, AfDB’s regional director for the East Africa Resource Centre, confirmed the loan approval, explaining that the road had been identified in the East African Regional Integration Strategy Paper, RISP, 2011-2015 and the East African Transport Strategy and Regional Road Sector Development Programme of November 2011 as a priority for intervention. “The East African Community seeks to improve regional transport infrastructure to support economic and social development programs in the region, promote tourism and foster regional integration and at the same time reduce the cost of doing business by supporting cross-border and international trade,” Negatu said.

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